Online MBA in Human Resources (HR) Programs 2021

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Earning a human resources degree prepares learners to oversee organizations’ employment-related functions. Human resources (HR) professionals perform many tasks, including recruiting, screening, and interviewing and placing workers. Students who enjoy online courses related to strategic human resource management, employee development, and strategic issues may want to pursue an online MBA in human resources.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), human resources managers earn a median annual salary of $121,220. The BLS projects jobs for these professionals to grow 6% between 2019-2029.

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Read on to learn about online human resources degrees, including common courses and scholarship opportunities.

Top Programs for Human Resources


  • Is a master of business administration (MBA) in human resources worth it?

    An MBA in human resources offers a comprehensive curriculum that can increase learners’ career opportunities. Graduates refine their skills in employee engagement, conflict resolution, employment law, and strategic management. This degree can also lead to increased salaries.

  • Is human resources a good career?

    This growth-oriented field provides strong employment and advancement opportunities. This field can also offer employees high job satisfaction.

  • How long does it take to get an MBA in human resources?

    An MBA in human resources takes approximately 18 months to complete, with eight-week terms. Some schools offer an accelerated or flexible MBA that includes weekends.

  • What kind of jobs can I get with a human resources degree?

    Professionals in upper-level human resources roles may work as development specialists, training and development managers, compensation specialists, benefits managers, and labor relations specialists.

Why Get a Degree in Human Resources?

An online human resources degree may appeal to current HR professionals who enjoy working with employees in an organization. Professionals who want to make a career change may also choose human resources if they enjoy training, employee relations, and employee development.

Human resources specialists earn a median annual salary of $63,490, according to the BLS. While these professionals do not typically need an MBA, earning an online MBA in human resources can help them advance in their career and boost their salary. For example, compensation and benefits managers earn a median annual salary of $125,130.

Online MBA graduates can often recoup the cost of their degree fairly quickly. Business school alumni earn a median cumulative base salary of $2.5 million over 20 years, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council.

Enrolling in an online MBA program offers many other benefits, including the ability to work and study at the same time.

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How Much Does a Human Resources Degree Cost?

Tuition varies among public universities, private institutions, for-profit colleges, and nonprofit institutions. Online school degrees will typically cost less than in-person degrees, but also note distance learning fees, which vary, depending on the institution.

Online students may pay additional fees, depending on the institution. These fees could involve a one-time matriculation fee or a per-credit distance learning fee. Some schools may charge a distance education course fee, assessment and graduation fees, financial aid fees, technology fees, or capital improvement fees.

The average cost of graduate tuition and required fees cost $12,171 for public institutions in 2018-2019. Private institutions cost $25,929 on average in 2018-2019. However, tuition and fees vary depending on the institution. For example, Northwest Missouri State University charges $12,300 for its online MBA in human resources program. The tuition amount covers the cost for both in-state and out-of-state students.

Prospective students should ask colleges and universities in-depth questions about tuition and fees so they know what to expect before they make a final decision.

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How Much Do Human Resources Majors Make?

Median Annual Salary

Human resource specialists earn a median annual salary of $63,490, while human resources managers earn a median annual salary of $121,220. The BLS projects job opportunities in this field to grow 6% from 2019-2029.

Graduate Degree

A graduate degree in human resources offers a 33% increase in pay, as evidenced by the difference in salaries between a human resource specialist and a human resource manager.


Human resources professionals position themselves for career advancement through certifications. Professionals who hold titles like human resources manager, senior human resources consultant, operations managers, human resources directors, and employee relations managers can all qualify to earn a certification. Earning a certification showcases professionals’ commitment to their careers and can help boost their income.

Courses in Human Resources

Students pursuing an online human resources degree develop research and analytical skills through projects or a thesis. Specialized courses may also help learners further develop their expertise. While specific courses vary by school, most MBA in human resources programs include the courses below.

  • Human Resource Management

    The course exposes students to current practices associated with workforce management. Learners study the legal aspects of managing employees, enforcing discipline, and implementing termination processes. The class reviews human resources management on a macro level and incorporates real-life examples to help students understand the role of human resources within an organization.

  • Human Resource Metrics and Talent Analytics

    The class introduces learners to techniques for developing human resource metrics and other performance measurement systems within organizations. Enrollees learn how to mine organizational data and how to manipulate research and quantitative data to yield organizational insights.

  • Interpersonal Relations, Influence, and Ethical Leadership

    The course analyzes communication challenges and difficult discussions many organizations face. Learners study the tenets of ethical leadership and engage in discussions on conflict resolution and negotiation. Enrollees also explore techniques for examining and resolving real workplace dilemmas.

Certifications and Licensure for Human Resources

Human resources certifications help employees showcase their commitment to human resources as a career and help them climb the corporate ladder. See below for some certifications that can help human resources professionals advance in their career.

SHRM Certified Professional

HR professionals who implement policies and strategies may apply for the SHRM-CP exam. Professionals who serve as a point of contact for staff and stakeholders, deliver HR services, and perform operational HR functions may also take the exam. Those with a related graduate degree must currently serve in an HR role.

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Professional in Human Resources

The PHR certification focuses on technical and operational aspects of HR management, including U.S. laws and regulations. Professionals need at least one year of experience in a professional-level HR position and a master’s degree or higher.

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Senior Professional in Human Resources

The SPHR certification involves strategy and policy in HR management. Eligible professionals must meet one of the following conditions for education or experience: possess at least four years of experience in a professional-level HR position plus a master’s degree or higher, possess at least five years of experience in a professional-level HR position plus a bachelor’s degree, or possess at least seven years of experience in a professional-level HR position.

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Scholarships for Human Resources

Students can help fund their MBA in human resources by applying for scholarships. Schools, organizations, and nonprofits offer merit-based scholarships and grants. See below for three opportunities open to HR degree-seekers.

  • BOTH Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: MBA students from the African diaspora who attend an accredited university may apply. Students must major in a business-related degree, submit proof of enrollment, and provide a writing prompt. Applicants must also offer an example of their creative content.

    Amount: $1,000

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  • Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

    Who Can Apply: New Americans age 30 or younger may apply. Applicants must plan to start or continue an eligible full-time graduate program in the United States in the 2022-23 academic year. Applicants’ birth parents both must have been born outside of the U.S. as non-U.S. citizens. Both parents must not have been eligible for U.S. citizenship at the time of their births.

    Amount: $90,000

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  • Beldon Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Learners pursuing a degree in business, management, marketing, or a related field, including human resources, may apply. Applicants need a minimum 3.5 GPA and must submit their official transcripts and an essay containing 1,500-2,000 words.

    Amount: $1,000

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Online MBA in Human Resources Programs 2021

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